Writer of the Month: Ken Wetherington for May 2021
My pick for May 2021's Writer of the Month is a talented writer and such a supportive member of the independent writing community. The excerpt from his story "In the Eye of the Beholder" absolutely blew my mind. I had to reread it several times to wrap my head around it- completely brilliant!
Ken Wetherington lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife and two dogs. His stories have appeared in Ginosko Literary Journal, The Fable Online, Borrowed Solace: A Journal of Literary Ramblings, The Remington Review, Waymark Literary Magazine,and others. His first collection, Santa Abella and Other Stories is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. It was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group in the literary fiction category. His latest story, “An Elegy for Esmeralda” will be published this month in the spring issue (no. 26) of Ginosko Literary Journal. When not writing, he is an avid film buff and has taught film courses for the OLLI program at Duke University. Links to many of his publications are available on his website: https://kenwetherington.com
In the Eye of the Beholder (excerpt- full story published in Waymark Literary Magazine, Fall/Winter 2020)
The little boat bobbed further away, nearly obscured by the angry sea. Over my shoulder, a towering wave rose. I twisted to avoid the impact, but it struck hard, pushing me deep beneath the salty water. The muffled roar of the ocean rushed past, distinctly present yet strangely remote. I struggled upward, fighting the weight of my clothes. Breaking the surface, I searched frantically for the boat. The spray, driven by the wind, stung my face and blurred my vision.
Then I caught a glimpse of the craft, sliding toward me. Before I could react, it vanished behind a large swell and almost as suddenly reappeared, elevated by the undulating sea. Another surge lifted and propelled me toward my salvation. I lunged for the boat, falling short as it spun out of reach. Fatigue strained my muscles, and I began to sink. From somewhere nearby, a voice, soft at first, then louder, cut through the wind and rain.
“Please sir, don’t touch the art.”
I blinked. A museum guard stood beside me, his hand on my arm. I blinked again. The vivid seascape had receded to its two dimensions.
“Sorry, it’s … it’s such a powerful image.”
“Just don’t touch it. Please stay two feet from the artwork.” He frowned and stepped aside, smoothing down his thin black moustache. I felt him watching as I eased away, the scent of brine lingering in my nostrils.
Inspiration for “In the Eye of the Beholder”
“In the Eye of the Beholder” began as an image that came to me out of the blue. Almost all of my stories come to me out of nowhere, usually as an image or sometimes a line of dialog. It’s virtually always the opening scene. With a little work, the rest of the story takes shape, or not. I never know when or where inspiration will strike, so I have to be ready to recognize it when it appears. The image of a man looking at a painting stirred me to create this story.
Santa Abella and Other Stories
These fourteen stories, tinged with darkness, assemble a variety of characters, places, and eras: A man searches for his estranged wife in a remote Latin American village, a starstruck teenager spends a weekend with her movie star idol, an obscure cult targets an elderly widow, a couple of pals seek a bizarre experience in Las Vegas, a high school obsession turns dark, college friends in 1970 anticipate the approaching military draft, a man deals with the impending death of his father, a Confederate soldier returning from the Civil War has a life changing encounter.
In their own words...
In their own words: I write entirely in first person. My first attempts at writing involved taking on grand themes of injustice and hypocrisy in society, but the results were so heavy-handed that I didn’t want to read them. Why should I have expected others to do so? So, I backed off and just tried to tell a good story. To my surprise, I found that meanings began to emerge organically. This approach has worked for me.